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Data Center Operators to Invest Massively in Growth of Digital Infrastructure across Africa – CEOs at ITW 2021

Leading data center operators across Africa are investing massively in expanding data center footprints to power the explosive growth in data consumption and digital services, fuelled by the Covid-19 pandemic. These investments in data centers expansion will ensure that large enterprises delivering services across Africa, and global Content Delivery Networks will be able to provide seamless and uninterrupted services to their subscribers without incurring additional costs in building their own data centers.

This much was revealed at the recently concluded plenary session hosted by MainOne, at the International Telecoms Week 2021.  Themed “Explore the growing Data Center ecosystem in West Africa”, the panel comprising Chief Executive Officers of MainOne, Funke Opeke, Ayotunde Coker of Rack Center, Wouter van Hulten of Pan African Internet Exchange Data Centres (PAIX), Stephane Duproz of Africa Data Centre and Guy Zibi of Xalam Analytics who moderated the session,  discussed extensively on the state of maturity of the West Africa’s Data Center market, key trends and the unique opportunities available in the market.

Focus areas of discussion included importance of digital infrastructure in the region highlighted by COVID-19 pandemic which accelerated the uptake of cloud and colocation services but also exposed the gaps that still exists especially in the West African data center market which currently delivers less than 10% of the total African data center capacity which occupies only 1% of the global data center capacity. The speakers agreed that the ecosystem is well-established with its growth driven by uptake of services by large enterprises, the growing number of FinTechs and global players expanding their footprints in Africa with submarine cables plans and deploying edge nodes in the region but there is still room for more investments in the market.

Highlighting MainOne’s role in closing the existing gap in the Data Center market, Funke Opeke shared on the expansion of MainOne’s Data Center footprint in the region. “In Ghana, we recently launched a Tier III Appolonia Data Center and we are currently expanding our Lekki Data Center facility in Lagos-Nigeria which will be completed by the end of 2021. We are also expanding our facility in Cote d’Ivoire” by 2022.

The session offered insights into the need for sustainability of Data Centers as more organization become carbon-neutral. Funke Opeke stated “Power supply continues to remain a challenge in this part of the world and we realised that while there is a lot of power available in the grid all across Africa, distribution is one of the key challenges. Our strategy has been strategic, direct access to the power grid while we build our own private access to that power. This strategy is one of the building blocks in choosing locations for our data centers and has worked to deliver 94% power availability to the Lekki Data Center from the grid. We are also deploying gas as backup for power for our Lekki facility and the planned Sagamu Data Center”.

The 2021 Africa Panel session at ITW, sponsored by MainOne continues to provide a platform for key global players in Africa to share perspectives on the opportunities and challenges of digitization on the African continent. This year makes it the 8th time in a row that MainOne has sponsored the session

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